Tips and tricks for a stress free travel

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Traveling can be one of the most stressful events for everyone. You need to make sure you arrive to the airport on time, pack a bag that does not exceed the weight limit, bring a carry on that can fit in the overhead compartment, etc. Traveling requires a lot of preparation, organization and patience to master a stress free trip. As I preparing to leave the United States for a summer spent in Italy, I thought I would share some tips and tricks I am going to put into use during my travels.

  • Keep a folder with you. Whether it is a file in your phone or a physical folder, it’s efficient to keep all your travel plans (i.e. flights, hotels, transportation) is one place to refer to.
  • Be on time. For most people it is easier said than done, but time management is the key to a stress free trip. If you are flying international, arrive to the airport at least two hours before your flight. If you are flying domestic, arrive to the airport at least one hour before your flight. This is the golden rule of a successful travel.
  • Prepare for your flight. Many people are often consumed in packing and airport stress, they forget to prepare for the actual flight. Bring a neck pillow portable chargers for your phone and laptop, books, newspapers, or any other form of entertainment to keep you content for the duration of your flight.
  • I found an article on Hawkins International PR  called 5 Travel Accessories to Make Your Trip Stress Free by Kasey McKenna that I find very helpful and worth sharing. McKenna wrote:
    1. LugLocNothing is worse than waiting at baggage claim, looking for your bag, and then feeling helpless once you can’t find it. LugLoc takes the worrying of where you bag is away by giving you the ability to track your luggage.  All you have to do is purchase the device, which combines GSM and Bluetooth technology (for $70), put it in your suitcase, and download a $7 app, which comes with five free traces.  With a tap on the app, a map will appear showing the location of your suitcase, regardless of where in the world it is. And the best part – if it’s in close range, maybe at the baggage carousel Bluetooth will kick in and let you know your luggage awaits.
    2. Benga 2S Duo 2It’s easy to see why the Benga 2S Duo 2 was voted one of the most innovative products at this year’s Travel Goods Showcase.  The Benga 2S transforms from one four-wheeled hard-shell suitcase into two two-wheeled rollers, each sporting one hard side and one soft side – so you’re essentially getting two suitcases for the price of one!  Each separate bag has its own retractable hand and a TSA-compliant lock.  The bag  fits most carry-on specs as the single luggage piece, and there is always the option of checking in half and carrying on half. Expected for summer release, the price tag will be in the range of $400.
    3. Walter and Rays TAB  Seatback OrganizerUnbeknownst to many – the seat pockets on airplanes are the worst offenders when it comes to germs. For all of you germaphobes, this seat back organizer makes sure you have all your travel necessities organized and germ-free.  What started as a Kickstarter project, the TAB will cost $50 to $150, depending on the material and the style.  It also boasts other cool accessories such as an arm-rest pillow and a smaller pocket for the minimalist.
    4. Apple’s Airport ExpressFinding wifi can sometimes be a hassle – especially when you’re traveling. And we all know that in this day and age it is imperative to keep in contact with your loved ones, with work and with friends.  For just $99, Apple’s Airport Express will keep you connected while on the go so you never have to worry about missing that important email.
    5. Happier With all the hustle and bustle of travel you can sometimes lose the joy in venturing off to a new destination. With the Happier app, you’ll be reminded to share your gratitude and find new reasons to smile.  The company’s main mission is to make you feel happier in everyday life – which is important to prioritize every day, especially when traveling. “More than 11,000 scientific studies show that developing a gratitude habit helps you feel more optimistic, sleep better, be more creative, productive, and less stressed.” Bonus: this app is free – just one more reason to smile.

Follow these tips and tricks for a stress free trip. Hopefully you find this information as helpful as I do!

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The importance of building a professional network

Professional-NetowrkingNetworking is one of the most essential parts of building your career. Let’s face it, it’s commonly said that it is “all about who you know.” Building a professional network can take time and is more work that one would think. It takes more than clicking “connect” on LinkedIn to build a professional connection and relationship with someone that you are trying to work with.

According to a Forbes article titled, How to Build a Professional Network, people tend to focus on the quantity of their connections rather than the quality. It is most important to have well-rounded connections so that your network is solid. Some of the connections that Forbes suggest people make are people that one wouldn’t automatically think of. These include, “the coach,” “the idealist” and “the wanna-be.”

“The coach” is the person that helps you make serious decisions from an outsider’s point of view.

“The idealist” is the person that you can tell your craziest dreams to and they will be the person to help you make it happen.

“The wanna-be” is the person that you can mentor and inspire as your mentor does for you. It is always nice to know that someone out there is looking up to you.

When building your professional network, be sure to include people that can help you in other ways aside from just your career. Who knows, maybe a connection with “the wanna-be” will inspire you more than you think.

Why mentorship programs are necessary for your PR career

 

Whether you’re an undergraduate student or have recently graduated, a mentorship program can be the most beneficial and helpful tool for your career in the public relations industry. Having a mentor is the opportunity to gain knowledge, insight, skills and contacts. How could you be opposed to that? Having a mentor is a unique experience that leading professionals in the industry highly recommend. A mentor can clarify any questions you have, help establish your goals and develop critical thinking skills For undergraduates: having a mentor is great for learning the basics of your industry and whether you even find yourself in your mentor’s position in the future. For college graduates: being a mentee is a great way to get your foot in the door. For anyone, a mentorship program is ultimately a golden ticket to excel in your career.

Finding the best mentor for you should be a well thought out process, especially considering that you will be spending a great amount of time with them. You should consider the profession/position they are and the type of business they work for in addition to other aspects that you look for in the career you are hoping to pursue. On the PRSA website I found an article by Stephanie Vermillion called, The 3 ideal Types of PR Mentors, and how to find yours, that I find helpful. Vermillion suggests that you should experience not only one, but three mentors. Here are the three ideal mentor’s she suggests:

  1. The mentor from afar: choose a mentor online. Find a blog you finding interesting and follow it. Take notes on their writing style, blog posts, and followers to learn. Follow all their channels, comment on posts, share content, retweet, etc.
  2. The supervisor mentor: this is the mentor we mostly associate what a mentor is. Find an influencial, important, and experienced person in your company that you admire and think you can learn from. Learn the ins-and-outs of their job.
  3. The younger mentor: this is mainly applicable for someone older in the company, which shows that mentors are not only for young professionals trying to learn. No matter what age you are, there’s always room for growth. Find someone who is younger than you and learn new ways of thinking in addition to knowing how to stay relevant with new PR trends that you might not have yet been exposed to.

Mentors are a staple in the PR profession as they push you beyond your limits, expose you to new ways of thinking and guide you on your career path. When you multiply those benefits by three, your future will be limitless, your thinking will be unconventional and your road to success will be exhilarating.

–Stephanie Vermillion, Senior Account Executive at Wordsworth Communications, PRSA

Data visualization: how to tell your story through visuals

Visualization is an interactive and efficient method for presenting any form of data wether it is statistics, campaigns, pitches, stories or any other kind of information. Let’s be real, would you rather look at data presented in charts, pictures and a color scheme, or data presented in black and white document covered in an overwhelmingly amount of text? Assuming you answered that you prefer visuals over a text-only document, using data visualizations and infographics are clear, concise and easy to understand in addition to aesthetically pleasing.

“With the rise of ‘big data,’ data visualizations are more useful than ever. However, a hastily produced image won’t suffice and may even misinform or confuse viewers. Careful research and design are crucial for developing a visual that is eye-catching, informative and factually accurate.”

-William Comcowich, CyberAlert Founder & CEO

A well-designed graphic can make your information stand out above the rest. After recently learning how to create a data visualization/infographic, I thought I would share helpful tips and guidelines to follow in the process of creating your visual.

Research

First, before you try to create your visuals on InDesign, or any other software/tool to make an infographic, make sure you establish what information you want to include. Ask yourself these questions: What is your infographic about? Who is it for? Who is your target audience? What will it contain? What is the ultimate goal you want to reach when people read it?

Write a Story

After you answered those questions–and hopefully wrote them down for reference–your next step is to decide how you want people to read your visualization. I think of data visualizations as a form of story telling. You want people to read your visualization from top to bottom, from beginning to end. This helpful to think about for organization purposes.

Trim the Fat

Another important factor to consider is that your infographic is direct and to the point. An infographic is supposed to be pretty straightforward, so only add information that needs to be included for your story to make sense. An easy way to decipher this is to write everything down on a piece of paper, and simply cross out unnecessary information.

Visualize

Now that you know exactly what will be included in your infographic/data visualization, it is time to begin your design. Creating an infographic can be a tedious and time consuming process. If you have yet to master InDesign or Illustrator, like me, there are many websites and tools available to help you design your infographic. For the infographic I made (shown below), I used Piktochart. While researching data visualizations I came across an article I found helpful and intuitive that lists The 37 Best Tools for Data Visualization posted on Creative Bloq that is definitely worth to check out!

Design

While adding pictures, charts, graphics and text, keep in mind that less is more. Simple and clean infographics are more effective than a cluttered one. Don’t make your infographic text-heavy. Let graphics help you tell your story, but also do not only use graphics(with no text). I found using a 50/50 text-to-graphic ratio is the appropriate proportion. Establish a theme to your design. Maintain a color scheme, uniformed text, and an overall consistency that will make your infographic attention-grabbing and legible. Last but not least, it is crucial that your infographic has balance and fluidity.

Infographic I created for

Infographic I created for “It’s On Us” campaign

The basics of crisis communications

crisisSMALLEvery business’ biggest fear is for something to completely back-fire and fail. Remember that one saying, “expect the unexpected”? That saying is definitely a tool used in crisis communications. Crisis management in every company is an important aspect because let’s face it, nothing goes one hundred percent smoothly every single time. To understand the ABC’s of crisis management in public relations, I found an article by Jonathan Bernstein on the website, Bernstein Crisis Management, where he has listed the 10 Steps to Crisis Communications. I have to decided to share Bernstein’s 10 steps because I found this article a helpful tool to learn the basics of crisis management.

  1. Anticipate crises
  2. Identify your crisis communications team
  3. Identify and train spokespersons
  4. spokesperson training
  5. Establish notification and monitoring systems
  6. Identify and know your stakeholders
  7. Develop holding statements
  8. Assess the crisis situation
  9. Finalize and adapt key messages
  10. Post-crisis analysis

 

PR professionals explore the benefits of Pinterest

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 10.51.12 PMFrom DIY projects and fitness motivation to wedding planning inspiration and recipes to deliciously pictured food, Pinterest is a social media site used for people to create digital scrapbooks. Commonly thought of a social media site primarily used for personal enjoyment, Pinterest has flourished into a platform for businesses to market/advertise themselves for free. According to Turn PR Pinterest might just be the most powerful pitching tool for PR professionals to take advantage of. Pinterest is great for pitching because: the boards offer an efficient method for categorization, easy access to visuals (photos and videos), and inspiration from competition to create content that gives businesses an edge. “While Twitter might be a great way to connect with and get to know journalists’ interests and Facebook a place to share clips, Pinterest is an effective tool to “show, not tell” the media your ideas,” said Turner PR’s April Ingle.

While browsing Pinterest, I found a pin linked to Shell Robshaw-Bryan’s article on Social Media Today‘s website that offers tips for businesses to consider. Here are a few tips listed I found noteworthy:

  • Give each board an informative name and make sure you include a compelling, keyword focused board description.
  • Optimise all the images that you upload (make sure the file names contain descriptive keywords). Once uploaded, edit your pin to include a link back to the original source or related content on your website.
  • Keep the width of images to around 540 pixels and take advantage of the no vertical size constraint.  Narrow, long pins are much more eye catching than short images.
  • Don’t forget to include calls to action on your boards and in pin descriptions
  • Make sure to add the Pinterest share button to all of your product and content pages on your website and blog.

#traveloregon

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Travel Oregon relaunched its popular campaign, “The 7 Wonders of Oregon,” March 2015. Travel Oregon’s objectives of the 7 Wonders campaign are to excite people to consider Oregon as a leading travel desitnation and to boost travel throughout the state. The campaign features a 60-second video showcasing Oregon’s iconic seven wonders: the Oregon coast, Mt. Hood, Crater Lake, the Columbia River Gorge, Smith Rock, the Painted Hills and the Wallowas. As a tactic to create civic engagement Travel Oregon generated the hashtag #traveloregon.  The campaign’s hashtag is used across multiple social media platforms for visitors to share their personal experiences while exploring the natural wonders the state of Oregon has to offer. According to Travel Oregon’s website: “The best of these images will be showcased on Travel Oregon content channels (TravelOregon.com, Facebook and Instagram) to inspire others long after the paid media portion of the campaign concludes. In 2014, people tagged more than 86,000 photos with the #traveloregon hashtag.” The 2015 campaign is expected to have booming expansion of the #traveloregon hashtag across social media as well as an outstanding increase in Oregon’s tourism.

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